Why Does Your DSi Not Read Games?

If you’ve ever received a blank screen after putting a game cartridge into your DSi, you need to keep reading this article. The reasons for this malfunction could vary, depending on the condition of your console and game collection. You need to do some preliminary checks to find out whether the issue is with a specific game or your DSi.

So, why does your DSi not read games? If there is an obstruction inside the cartridge slot like a piece of paper or hair, it will prevent the metal pins from making proper contact with your game. Sometimes, the pins on the cartridge slot are bent too far inwards and have to be straightened out.

Check the same game on another DS/ DSi to find out if it’s just that one console causing the problem. You can also insert other games into your DSi and see if it’s an issue with that particular game. Reboot the system, and make sure you’ve inserted the cartridge properly (there will be a click sound once it’s fully seated).

Why Does Your DSi Not Read Games?

If you’re expecting the worst (damaged motherboard or cartridge), put your fears aside because this is a common issue. Especially with old DS and DSi consoles that have accumulated lots of dust inside their cartridge slot over the years. Sometimes, you just have to clean out that slot with some compressed air before inserting any games.

And while you’re at it, take a cotton swab and wipe off the gold-plated contacts on your game cartridge with some rubbing alcohol. If it’s too corroded or scratched up, you can also use brass polish on those pins. Then, wipe it dry and give it a couple of minutes for all residual moisture to evaporate.

Reboot your DSi, and make sure it has ample charge (blue LED). Then insert the game and until you hear the cartridge click,  otherwise it won’t be seated properly. Boot up your console and select the game from its menu.

At this point, 99% of DSi games should boot up. Because the issue is often poor contact between the console and cartridge due to dust/ corrosion. If it still doesn’t work, swap it with a different cartridge or put the same cartridge into another DSi.

The issue could be with a specific game, or your console itself. If you suspect it’s the console, open it up and inspect the cartridge slot. Bent pins or broken solders can cause the slot to malfunction.

Here’s a cartridge slot replacement video, but you’re going to need some basic soldering skills. Alternatively, you can copy your game ROMs to an SD card and run these on a jailbroken DSi. This method works even if you have a damaged cartridge slot, but you must flash the firmware.

Can Nintendo DSi Read DS Games?

It is just an upgraded DS with a processor that runs at higher clocks and has more RAM. So it can read DS games like a regular DS, but you won’t be able to play any DS games that require access to the GBA slot. Because DSi has no GBA slot, Nintendo removed it to make the console slimmer and cut down on manufacturing costs.

Because it has no GBA slot, DSi also lacks the 33MHz ARM7TDMI processor needed for GBA games. But its removal paved the way to insert more useful components that would be used by modern gamers. Like a codec-integrated circuit for superior sound processing.

You can also unlock “enhanced” content in games that support it. Some games are even DSi-exclusive, and won’t run on the DS.

How Do I Get My DSi To Read My SD Card?

DSi has 256MB of internal flash memory. You can copy software and other data from SD cards to this memory. You can also use the SD card to store photos taken with your DSi’s camera.

To use an SD card on your DSi, just insert it into the slot and go into your DSi’s system menu to access/ delete data on the card. Files stored in your DSi’s system memory can be copied to the SD card.

How Do I Clean A DSi Cartridge Slot?

The best way is to blow out all dust, hair, pocket lint, etc. with a can of compressed air. Blowing into the slot is not advised, as it can introduce moisture through particles of spit. And moisture is what causes rust.

You can also use some 91% isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip to gently clean any grime or oil that has accumulated on the pins. If the Q-tip is too wide, you can use a bit of cloth wrapped around a toothpick. Just make sure you’re not leaving any residue in the slot (blow it with a second shot of compressed air after using the Q-tip).

What Files Can DSi Read?

DSi can read AAC, MP4, 3GP, and M4A files at a bitrate of 16 to 320kbps. Sampling rates between 32kHz to 48kHz are supported. DSi can play music from an SD card, it can also view photos stored on the card.

Can A DSi Run 3DS Games?

No, the 3DS is an entirely new type of console with a different processor. While 3DS can play DS and DSi games in backward compatibility mode, DSi can’t play 3DS cartridges. They won’t even fit into a DSi’s cartridge slot, because Nintendo put a notch on 3DS cartridges that prevent them from being inserted into an older console.


I hope this article helped you understand why your DSi isn’t reading games, and fix whatever it is that’s causing this problem. Normally, you don’t need to do anything complicated. Just blow some air into the cartridge slot and wipe away dirt/ dust that has accumulated on your game cartridge.

If the issue persists, you might want to open up your console and take a look at the pins on that cartridge slot. If you see bent pins or broken solder joints, a replacement slot might be needed. You can also bypass the slot entirely by installing cracked firmware and running your game ROMs from an SD card.


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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